The Longest Silence I Ever Heard

We’d been there for hours and the room was crowded and I could feel the strength of my resolve slipping through my fingers. I could see the people around me but their outlines were blurred and they moved so fast . It was impossible to keep up. To take it all in. I couldn’t do it. Too tired. Too scared. And then they were pushing up the bars with a BANG and rubber soles were hitting the floor with squeaks. And blurry faces were covered with masks and words were being thrown over my head and everything started to slip away. And that was the longest silence I ever heard.

As the beep beep beeps of my son’s little heart began to die away.

And only silence followed.

In the time where his heart should have filled the room, there was only silence.

And in the space where my heart should have been there was only silence. A black hole. A void. Gone. He was gone, I was sure.

The Longest Silence I Ever Heard_Ghostwritermummy.co.uk

And so the silence went on. Words were crowding around my head, forcing their way up into my throat and staying there. I was choking on the bitterness of them. I was retching at their taste. I wasn’t speaking them. I couldn’t. I was overtaken by the silence, frozen by the fear. As the feet rushed around me and the hands moved my body. As the mask was placed onto my face and the theatre doors were swinging behind me. As the chill of the room overtook my body and the tears were rolling down my face…

Silence.

The longest silence I ever heard.

And then, my son was born. They pressed a knife into my skin and he was alive. He was taken from my body and air was forced into his lungs. He was brought back from the silence, and he waited while I slept.

And this was supposed to be one of the happiest days of my life.They tell you that the day your child is born is amazing. wonderful, exhilarating. So surely something is wrong with me, with the women for whom this day is anything but. Surely something is wrong with looking back on this day with dread. Utter dread. Cold, gnawing and pitiful dread. Surely something is wrong with wanting to run away from the memories, yet needing to replay them over and over and over again.

It isn’t always perfect. Plans don’t always unfold just how you imagined them. Sometimes, things go wrong. Sometimes the trust you placed in the people who care for you is simply misplaced. Sometimes the day your baby is born is the day a part of you withers and crumbles.

And sometimes it the silence that brings it all back. And that is how it is, for some women. The longest silence. Screaming silence.

**

I’d love your support in the 2016 blogging awards. Being nominated is a wonderful way to raise awareness of issues that matter, and with your support I can help give a voice to families who have suffered a traumatic birth. This will lead to better understanding for health care professionals when it comes to helping and supporting women and families. It will also lead to better understanding for us all, so that women like me can access support without judgement. Thank you!

Please click the links below to nominate me in the following categories: Inspire, Writer, Reader’s Choice, Best baby, Best Writer.

http://www.tots100.co.uk/nominate-in-the-2016-mad-blog-awards/

http://www.britmums.com/nomination-form-bibs-2016/

12 Comments

  1. Lapine
    March 24, 2016 / 9:39 pm

    Please consider seeking help for PTSD. I hope you get the support you need.

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      March 26, 2016 / 1:13 pm

      Thanks so much for your comment. I am receiving support, thank you xx

  2. Moira McArthur
    March 26, 2016 / 2:31 pm

    This is me, August 1977. My daughters, too, went through very similar experience with each of their first children. Younger daughter only saw the charts and doctors notes for her first baby, when arranging a planned section for second baby. Less than a microsecond away from disaster. We all had Post Natal Depression. The girls’ was picked up on by medics.
    1977, a different story. Left to get on with it. Ten years later, new house, new town, new GP practice and my long-standing distress was finally recognised and help given.

    Have nominated your blog for the two awards as it speaks the language of motherhood.

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      March 27, 2016 / 8:29 am

      I am so sorry you and your daughters have been through similar experiences. And although I am glad that your daughters were given support for PND, I wish it was the same for you. I think that still today birth trauma and even PND are taboo topics that people either don’t understand or don’t want to talk about. Its a shame, but something I want to change. Thank you so much for reading, and thank you for your nominations too. It means a lot and I hope to make some changes if I can xxx

  3. miljee
    March 27, 2016 / 12:26 am

    So- your child was born by caesarian? And- survived? Happily?

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      March 27, 2016 / 8:32 am

      Hello. Yes my son was born by c-section and yes he survived. I wouldn’t quite say happily however seeing as I suffered PTSD as a result of his birth- there are certainly a few other words I would choose to describe it. I assume you weren’t implying all that matters is a healthy baby which is of course not true, but thanks for asking and thanks for reading.

  4. March 27, 2016 / 1:39 am

    2 out of 3 of my labours were traumatic, so I understand where you’re coming from. I had to have surgery after the last and that stayed with me for some weeks after. I couldn’t go through it all again if I’m honest. Thank heavens for our healthy babies and amazing doctors and nurses sticking us all back together again!! And amen for the stress free labours, I rather oddly remember the one that went well fondly xxx
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    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      March 27, 2016 / 8:36 am

      I hear you. My 3rd baby was a planned section and her birth was so calm and peaceful, the only one of four that I look back on fondly. I’m sorry you’ve been through it too xxx

  5. Rebecca
    March 31, 2016 / 2:57 pm

    I suffered a traumatic birth and also struggled with my treatment on the ward in the hospital. That combined with problems breastfeeding my daughter led to a difficult few weeks following the birth ( I.e feeling very detached from my daughter). It was only when I returned to work a year later that I met a psychologist and had a discussion with her about what had happened to me. It was only through that conversation that I realised that I had suffered trauma and had been struggling to overcome those feelings. That psychologist had also suffered a traumatic birth with her first child that she left her area of specialism to pursue a career counselling women also suffering birth trauma. I think it’s an area that’s massively under-reported. Everyone expects you to be euphoric and overjoyed following the birth, and although I loved my daughter I definitely did not feel that way. I would suggest if anyone suffers flashbacks of the birth or significant anxiety/ bad dreams that they consider professional help. Partners can also be affected so it may be worth them seeking help also.

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      April 1, 2016 / 11:23 am

      I completely agree. As mothers we are supposed to bond with our children and feel this rush of love, but sometimes that doesn’t happen. The guilt can be crippling. And after a traumatic birth more so because you are reliving what happened over and over again, so of course you blame yourself. I agree that more needs to be done so that people understand how birth trauma can affect women and their families. Thank you so much for reading and thank you for your comment. I’m glad you were eventually able to get support and help xx

  6. Carol
    April 2, 2016 / 9:23 am

    My son was born 22 years ago next Tuesday. I felt very similarly to you for a long time. His traumatic birth was caused, in part, by a chromosomal abnormality which was discovered when he was 13. In the early days I was told he had cerebral palsy caused by birth trauma. We pursued a medical negligence claim but the expert opinion was that, although the care we received was sub standard there wasn’t a causal link to his disability. His disability overshadowed my feelings about the birth and it wasn’t til much later I heard about PTSD related to traumatic birth. Still now I can’t watch labour on TV or programmes like One Born Every Minute. Thank you for raising awareness.

  7. Mabel
    April 3, 2016 / 1:05 pm

    There is a huge amount of work, and awareness of, birth trauma, among child psychotherapists. Sadly there are only 800 of them in the UK because the training is 8 years and is only part funded. Not all obstetric units see the need for psychotherapists but they can make a massive difference to Mother-baby outcomes by working with the mother and baby straight after the birth.

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